The screening of “Bagdad Cafe” is slated for 7 p.m., but a reception will be held at the moviehouse at 5:30 p.m. featuring music from Bandelier and documentary films featuring best-selling Route 66 historian, actor and Tulsa resident Michael Wallis.
Wallis also will introduce the film at the screening. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased here.
The film Bagdad Café is named after the famous Route 66 café that inspired it. It tells the story of a German couple whose car breaks down in the middle of the California desert. After arguing, the wife walks out. She ends up at a flea-bitten truck stop that is the second home to a group of odd characters, and she begins to transform their lives.
Here’s the trailer for the film.
The German film was released in 1987. It’s an eccentric movie that’s not without its fans — including the late critic Roger Ebert. “Bagdad Cafe” also gained notice for one of its songs, “Calling You,” by Jevetta Steele, which has been covered extensively over the years.
The “Bagdad Cafe” movie also became sort of a crossroads for the career of actor Jack Palance, who portrayed artist Rudi Cox. He began getting more movie roles and won an Academy Award just four years later for his memorable performance as Curly the cowboy in “City Slickers.”
Most of the filming was at the Sidewinder Cafe and a nearby motel along Route 66 in Newberry Springs, California. Pilgrimages by European “Bagdad Cafe” fans prompted the owner to change its name to Bagdad Cafe, and it remains open to this day.
Bagdad, California, where the movie was supposed to be based, is about 50 miles east on Route 66 but no longer exists.
It’s not often “Bagdad Cafe” shows up on the big screen. So this event in Tulsa should give moviegoers a chance to see the Bagdad Cafe, along with the now-gone motel, from 30 years ago.
The Circle Cinema, on Lewis Avenue near Admiral Place, opened on Route 66 in 1928 and remains the oldest theater standing in Tulsa. The Circle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater closed for nearly a decade, then reopened in 2004 as a venue for independent films.
(Image of “Bagdad Cafe” movie poster posted courtesy of Michael Wallis)